Archive for the 'Travel' Category

06th Feb 2010

Rome lookalikes

A few things struck me on my trip to Rome a couple of weekends ago. There seemed to be a promotion on of the period when Jack Meadows out of The Bill was emperor…

Jack Meadows - the Emperor Vespasian

Also found sculptures of Robin Cook…

Robin Cook

Mrs Doyle out of Father Ted

Mrs Doyle

And even the Ood out of Doctor Who, wearing a shower cap.

The Ood - a minotaur

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21st Jan 2010

Off gallivanting again

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Rome on a long weekend with my brother, so chances are next week’s update schedule will be disrupted. There’s virtually no chance of being an installment of Under the Bed on Tuesday, as I’ll be in transit all day Tuesday, and a very slim possibility of an episode of The Cattle Raid of Cooley on Wednesday, although if I manage it it’ll be later in the day than usual. Your forbearance is much appreciated.

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08th Jan 2010

Some news

I’m going to be on the telly! On Tuesday I will be travelling to Glasgow with the League of Just Us, a team of Belfast-based comics folk, to appear on the BBC’s quiz show Eggheads! From left to right: PJ Holden (Judge Dredd, Battlefields); Me; Reggie Chamberlain King (the forthcoming Layer Zero: The Exile); Aidan Largey (Layer Zero: Choices, our reserve); Aimee Durkin (Stephen Downey’s model and girlfriend); and our intrepid leader and team captain Stephen Downey himself (artist of Cancertown, Slaughterman’s Creed and the team drawing; also a man who talks faster than the human mind can comfortably process). Wish us luck!

Then, on Sunday 17 January, I will be stallholding again, selling an ever-growing selection of Irish small press comics at the Black Books book fair, the Black Box, Hill Street, Belfast. Andy and I have decided to call our stall, to tie in with the theme, The Black Panel. Unfortunately Andy will not be able to make it as he’ll be in London to hear Mark Thomas, so the role of glamourous assistant will have to be filled by someone else. More when confirmed.

And finally, someone who has too much time on their hands has rewritten The Big Lebowski in the style of William Shakespeare. As The Knave says of his rug, while playing ninepins:

It was of consequence, I should think; verily, it tied the room together, gather’d its qualities as the sweet lovers’ spring grass doth the morning dew or the rough scythe the first of autumn harvests. It sat between the four sides of the room, making substance of a square, respecting each wall in equal harmony, in geometer’s cap; a great reckoning in a little room. Verily, it transform’d the room from the space between four walls presented, to the harbour of a man’s monarchy.

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17th Feb 2007

Fun in Belgium

Not long back from a long weekend in Brussels to visit my friend Stephen who’s working there. It’s an odd city. With its reputation for being boring and bureaucratic I expected it to be clean and tidy and orderly. It’s not. It’s quite charmingly messy. As anyone who’s seen my house will testify, I like clutter. Brussels works for me.
Visited the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée (Belgian Comic Strip Museum), which is a bit crap, and spent about two hours browsing in its bookshop, which is fabulous. Picked up a couple of albums by Frereric Boilet and Miguelanxo Prado. Resisted the Milo Manara – once of you’ve got one Giuseppe Bergman adventure, you’ve seen ’em all, but boy are they pretty. Also visited the Palais de Justice, which is an outrageous building, all marble and columns and classical proportions, built to an absurd scale. The actual courtrooms are tiny, but the building itself is like God’s waiting room. Discovered a very nice Belgian trappist beer called Chimay, and a strawberry beer called Framboise that tastes exactly like Creamola Foam, and visited a microbrewery just off Grande Place which appeared to be entirely run by lesbians.
Best night was the Sunday. Three of us sitting in an Irish bar (yes, I know), trying to get over the rugby team getting beaten at the last minute by the French, when in come a couple of girls from East Anglia, alone in a foreign country, knowing no French and desperate for someone who speaks English to talk to. And when I say “girls”, Rachel’s 17 and Kat’s 18, far too young really to have such womanly figures. We were perfect gentlemen, at least outside our heads. We got on famously. Later we’re joined by Rene, the German barman who can’t speak French either, when he gets off duty, and he drags us next door to the Karaoke night. We all do a turn. Rene and Rachel do Summer Nights from Grease. Various Belgians do Metallica and Evanescence songs. I do Try a Little Tenderness, and not only get away with it, but completely own it. Not quite in the Otis league, but maybe Andrew Strong. We finally leave about 4am, because Steve has to get up for work in the morning.
I did my best to speak French whenever possible, although when served by an impossibly beautiful girl in a sandwich shop I’m not sure I even remembered any English. Point and grunt. The only coherent bit of French I managed all weekend was when they turned the TV in the pub over to the football when the rugby was over, we got into a stilted conversation with a fellow called Ahmed, and I managed to say that Thierry Henry, quand le match est important, ne joue pas bien. Steve takes the Claudio Ranieri approach – have a go, who cares if it’s all wrong – and it seems to work.
Now I’m back in sunny Belfast, and trying to remember not to say “merci beaucoup” all the time.

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